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July 31, 2014     The Ponchatoula Times
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f THE NEWSPAPER OF AMERICA'S ANTIQUE CITY D facebook.com/theponchatoulatimes www.ponchatoula.com/ptimes JULY31,2014 34 th YEAR NUMBER 44 50 Welco-me to Ponchatoula, World Ser'ies Ponytails and Dixie Belles By BRYAN T. McMAHON and a dunking booth featuring An estimated 1800 softball players, coaches, families dry (for now) visiting coaches in and friends from 11 states will be be converging this week on Ponchatoula, a baseball city unlike any other, for a World Series championship. And excitement lo- cally could not be greater. Playing for national ttles will be the 11-12 year old Pony- tails, 12 teams from Southeast- ern United States, and; 13-15 year old Dixie Belles, the cham- pions of several states. At the climax of the softball action, Wednesday will see the Championship played out at Ponchatoula Area Recreation District (PARD) Park. "I am excited for our city, our park, and our local businesses," an enthusiastic Tournament Di- rector Dr. Bill Wheat DVM told The Times, adding: "We put a bid in two years ago and it was awarded a year ago, ' he said, before ticking offa long list of local individuals and organizations that have come together to provide a purely Ponchatoula welcome for the young athletes. There will be a local Ponchatoula host team playing in each division of the World Series. Volunteer host families will be welcoming our visitors from other states. And Dr. Wheat had high praise for the advance support the World Series has received from the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce. A 6 p.m. Friday opening ceremony is-scheduled for the Ponchatoula Area Recreation Distric (PARD) gym, scene of a welcoming banquet with Larry Byers heading up the cooking crew. A huge event Saturday at Memorial Park (where the pro- fessional Ponchatoula Athlet- ics once played with legendary Coach Buddy Dufreche and Ponchatoula pitching great the late "Smilin' Joe" McCarthy) has The Bailey family tragedy By JIM PERRIN Educator and Historian (EDITOR'S NOTE: This fi- nal story in a six part series on fires in Ponchatoula his- tory was inadvertently trun- cated when it was originally published, leaving readers dangling with the image of a woman in flames. This is, as they say, the full account including, "the rest of the story.") PLEASE SEE PAGE 4 .,.., := .. ..: -. ..=- N lg 7_ r O0 D _1 I1:N ll Nancy Lowentritt art opening this Friday Ponchatoula painter Nancy Lowentritt is the featured art- ist this Friday, August 1, dur- ing "First Friday Art Walk" in Downtown Hammond's Arts District. She has just finished some new works of art for the show. Putting the finishing touches on what she calls a labor of love, she said, "I've always wanted to paint a collage of all the reasons why I love the coast, so this piece is actually 14 paintings in one, on a large 3x4 foot canvas. Everyone is welcome to come to the opening reception, 5-7 p.m. at 106 N Oak St, just off the corner of W. Thomas. Cool refreshments will be served. Joining Lowentritt are 28 other local artists from Ham- mond Art Guild, with works of art in watercolor, acrylic, oil, hand pulled prints, photogra- phy, glass, wood, hand woven baskets, etchings on slate, pot- tery, metal, and mixed media! PLEASE SEE PAGE 8 World Series Director Dr. Bill Wheat (Times Photo) been dubbed "Louisiana Satur- the Bayou State. day Night" and is designed to Performers from "Ponchatou- give our visitors a real taste of la's Got Talent," a disc jockey, Local player and coach excited over World Series By BRYAN T. McMAHON "I think the World Series is great for the girls and will be fantas- tic for Ponchatoula. I will be volunteering Friday, for the girls and to represent my parents' Roux & Brew Seafood and Steakhouse (135 S.W. Railroad Avenue)," restaurant manager Miss Kristi Bas- so, 27, told The Times. Miss Basso's softball career should serve as a model to all girls playing the sport. She started playing T-Ball in Jaycee Park at the age of five and stuck with it, carrying fond memories of games at the Mill- side Field, playing Girls softball through St. Joseph, two years at PHS, finishing at Covington High where she played, joining travel-ball teams that took her all over the southeastern region of this country, participated on a Louisiana ASA champion- ship team and twice went to the nationals, attended college at Delta State in Cleveland, Mis- sissippi on a scholarship, grad- uated in 2009, completed her Masters Degree in Health and Physical Education while work- ing as graduate assistant pitch- ing coach at the college level. She coached at the Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, where she taught as well as coached, finishing as head coach (Her own early coach in Ponchatoula was World Series Tournament Director Dr. Bill Wheat DVM). "Then I came to help my par- ents (Kayla and Randy Tomeny) set up their restaurant here in Ponchatoula," said the veteran softball star, adding: "What is neat for the girls is getting to meet other girls from other states and from different cultures. Dr. Bill Wheat and his Coach and player Kristi Basso (Times Photo) organization did a tremendous thing bringing this to town. "I have friends coming in from my past baseball experiences. This is going to be a fantastic reurion for girls and women who have played together and who understand the importance of this World Series." the seat of honor. Deputy Susie will be demonstrating sign lan- guage will provide some of Sat- urday's entertainment. Four fun sporting events are also planned for the visitors: a Home Run Derby, Base Running and throwing competitions, and Building Fly Balls. Look for plenty of barbe- cue and a solid alligator pres- ence thanks to Kliebert Turtle and Alligator Farm, which will be hosting the visitors in two shifts, Monday and Tuesday. Dr. Wheat said Sanderson Farms will be donating chick- ens for the barbecue with pork and beans, just a portion of the three-meals-a-day feeding of the masses being officially wel- comed by Emily McKneely and Carla Tate of the Tangipahoa Convention and Tourist Bu- reau. . . ,::--. ..... ..  ' . NOLA Caf will be hosting Monday's lunch for players, / coaches, and parents.  Dr. Wheat told The Times ] the World Series is filling hotels J" and motels from Ponchatoula/ through Hammond. He singled out for special recognition for their efforts The Strawberry Festival, Chick-Fil- A, Strawberry Festival, Klie- By OLE HARDHIDE/The Alligator Ladies of Softball, welcome to Our Ponchatoula, the most baseball-loving city in America. Oh, forgive me, please. First, we should formally meet. I am Ole Hardhide, the alligator who lives in the exclusive gated fenced compound square in the center of town, in front of the Ponchatoula Country Market, which you will certainly want to visit because it is like no other place and is perfect for those who love to shop for items you just cannot buy any- where else. But get used to it. Our Ponchatoula is just like that - unique, from its people to its parks, to its downtown. I would advise you, if you feel a bit hot and sticky in this subtropical climate we have here, to slip into a bathing suit and join me in my nice cool pool. Whoops! Cancel that. Dr. Bill Wheat who is in charge of the World Series might not ap- prove, and I makeit a firm practice to never cross a veterinar- ian (Right Drs. Rob Davis and Queen Kathleen Elstrott?). You will find that our older Ponchatoula ballparks are haunted, but by very friendly ghosts indeed, and oh how I wish they were here to see you play in this wonderful World Series. They would be thrilled, and fulfilled. And perhaps they will be looking in on you. You see, they had the foresight to organize girls, and even boys, baseball and softball teams back when your great-grand- parents were young, because they just knew how important it is to play ball. It toughens your body and sharpens your mind, all while you are having some of the best fun of your life. Trust me on this (You do trust alligators, don't you?). And just wait until you see our big new park! It doesn't have any ghosts yet [] that I know of, that is. It is too new to have even friendly ghosts. When your fun and hard play is over, I am sure you will remember our ball fields, and I am confident they will remember you. It is you and your coaches who bring the friendly spirits with you, the kind that settle into the turf of a ball diamond, your first real diamond in life. When the World Series comes to an end, I trust it will leave you with memories you will never forget. Make new friends while you are here and I am willing to bet you will keep them, no matter in which state they live. Now  Ball! The World is Watchin The Ponchatoula Times - Call 985-386-2877 - P.O. Box 743 - Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 - editor@ )onchatoula.com !